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Beware of Doorstep Scams

January 5, 2011
Due to a recent incident in Palatine, we are sending this message to remind all residents to never let uninvited guests into their home.
 
Con artist crimes are once again on the rise in the Chicago suburbs. This type of activity is most prevalent in the spring, but we have already seen an increase in activity over the winter.
 
These types of criminals prey on senior citizens and may push their way into homes under the pretense that they will perform some work.
 
Doorstep scams commonly include tree trimming, roofing or seal coating, but imposters have also been known to pose as utility workers or Village employees. Once one suspect has the attention of the homeowner, an accomplice will often ransack the home for cash and jewelry.
 
Imposters rely on the fact that many times victims are often poor eyewitnesses and are frequently reluctant to report that they fell for a scam. These criminals often use two-way radios to communicate with each other and travel in groups of three to four people. Most of them commonly wear baseball caps to make it more difficult to be identified.
 
The swindlers are generally uncooperative with law enforcement and rarely admit criminal involvement. It is important to treat all these types of crimes as residential burglaries.
 
The Village requires that all solicitors have a permit. Always ask to see identification.
 
Follow these safeguards when approached by a doorstep solicitor:
  • Call 911 if a solicitor refuses to show you a permit.
  • Always talk to a solicitor through a closed locked door.
  • Never let a solicitor step into your home.
  • Never leave a solicitor alone at your door (to retrieve a phone, wallet, purse or any item requested); always shut and lock the main door before walking away from it.
  • Never leave your home unlocked while you are out doing yard work.
 
Residents with questions should contact the Palatine Police Crime Prevention Unit at 359-9061.
 
For more tips on recognizing types of imposter burglaries and other scams, visit the Illinois State Police website at www.isp.state.il.us/crime/citizenscam.cfm .


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200 East Wood Street, Palatine, Illinois 60067 P. (847) 358-7500
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